Aída Walqui’s work focuses on the development of educator expertise to provide second language learners deep, rigorous, and accelerated learning opportunities in their family language and in English as a second language. Walqui holds a Masters in Sociolinguistics from Georgetown University, and a Ph.D. in Language Literacy and Culture from Stanford University. She has won multiple awards for her work, including the TESOL International Association’s 50 Most Influential Leaders in the profession in the last 50 years. She is author of numerous articles and books including her most recent book entitled, Amplifying the curriculum: Designing quality learning opportunities for English Learners.
Charo is an educational psychologist with over 30 years of experience on issues related to educational evaluation, English Learners, family engagement, multicultural education, and early childhood education. At MAEC, Ms. Basterra provides day to day supervision of MAEC’s programmatic and evaluation activities. She also assists the President in overseeing fiscal affairs. In addition, she provides technical assistance to SEAs, LEAs, and schools to promote the academic achievement of English Learners, K-12. Ms. Basterra has edited several books, including Cultural Validity in Assessment: Addressing Linguistic and Cultural Diversity published by Routledge. Previously, she worked at the Smithsonian Institution as Manager of Multicultural Programs and at the Organization of American States where she conducted studies on Preschool Education in Latin America.
BethAnn Berliner is a Senior Researcher at WestEd specializing in cross-sector approaches to K-12 student success. Her work to improve the academic, developmental, health, and well-being outcomes of children, youth, families, and the systems that support them is nationally recognized. She brings expertise working with students with interruptions in their schooling, including students in foster care, students without homes, and students who are new to America.
Dr. Brown is scholar-practitioner committed to the development of leadership and organizational solutions to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in public school systems. She has facilitated a variety of diversity broadcasts and workshops in education (K-12 and higher education), non-profit, and corporate environments. To date Dr. Brown has served in cabinet level diversity and equity positions in two of the largest school Districts within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. A major accomplishment in her role within the Allentown School District (ASD) was the adoption of the District’s first Equitable Resource Allocation policy. Dr. Brown also served as the lead developer of the District’s Strategic Framework, and currently oversees the implementation and monitoring of the District’s inaugural curriculum audit findings.
A Senior Research Associate who joined WestEd in 2007, Elizabeth Burr coordinates research projects — including policy analyses, literature reviews, and syntheses — for the Regional Educational Laboratory West. Burr is the lead staff member for the English Learner Alliance; in particular, her work has focused on English Learner students with disabilities and long‑term English Learner students. Burr also is the manager of Ask‑A‑REL/Reference Desk. Previously Burr was a Project Director at the John W. Gardner Center for Youth and Their Communities at Stanford University and the Project Director at Policy Analysis for California Education.
Silvia Lenhof DeRuvo has committed to equity in education for students with disabilities, English learners and other diverse learners throughout her career. She is a Senior Program Associate at WestEd’s Learning Innovations Program providing technical assistance to states through the IDEA Data Center (IDC) and the National Center for Systemic Improvement (NCSI). She is a lead writer on the recently released California Practitioners Guide for Educating English Learners with Disabilities.
Wendella P. Fox was appointed in December 1997 as the Director of the Philadelphia Office of the Office for Civil Rights (OCR), U. S. Department of Education (the Department). The Office for Civil Rights enforces federal statutes that prohibit discrimination in programs and activities including Title VI, Title IX, Section 504, Title II, and the Age Act for recipients who receive federal financial assistance from the Department. The Philadelphia office is one of twelve regional offices nation-wide. This office serves over 700 school districts, more than 200 charter schools, and 400 institutions of higher learning located in Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. Prior to her tenure with OCR, Ms. Fox was an attorney in both the public and private sectors. Ms. Fox is an alumna of the University of Pennsylvania and it’s law school. Ms. Fox has been active in civic and community organizations as well as her church community since her graduation from law school.
Kathleen Gill is the Director of ESOL & World Languages and Principal of the Newcomer Academies in the Allentown School District. The Newcomer Academies provide a temporary, one-year, placement for students who are new to the United States, speak little or no English and have had no previous US Public School experience. In response to the 2017 Hurricane Maria evacuee crisis, ASD opened a second Newcomer Academy for students in grades K-6. Mrs. Gill’s work at the Newcomer Academies supports immigrants, evacuees and refugees including students with Limited Interrupted Formal Schooling (LIFE). Currently, ASD includes students from 76 countries who speak 47 different languages. Mrs. Gill has focused on ESL, Linguistics and English Learners throughout her 38-year career. She is an Adjunct Professor of Linguistics in the Graduate School of Education at DeSales University in Pennsylvania. Mrs. Gill is the recipient of 2019 Secondary Principal Award of Excellence and the National School Board Association 2019 Magna Award for removing barriers to achievement for underserved and vulnerable students.
Lucy Glasson has been an attorney with the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights (OCR) in Philadelphia since November 2008. During that time, she has investigated complaints and conducted compliance reviews concerning compliance with federal laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, and age by colleges, universities, and public school districts. Before joining OCR, Ms. Glasson spent seven years in private practice at law firms in Philadelphia and Boston, and served as a judicial clerk on the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. Ms. Glasson earned her J.D. from Yale Law School in 2000 and graduated from Bates College in 1997 with an undergraduate degree in history.
Michelle Gwinn Nutter, a Pennsylvania-certified teacher and former Civil Rights I nvestigator for the PA Office of Attorney General, is an Equity Specialist for the Center for Education Equity. She provides training and technical assistance to schools and communities throughout the state on a wide array of issues that disrupt the educational process. Ms. Nutter is a nationally recognized speaker and frequently serves as a facilitator for the Student Problem Identification and Resolution of Issues Together (SPIRIT) Program coordinated by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Community Relations Service, in collaboration with multiple federal, state and local agencies and community partners. She is a certified Olweus Bullying Prevention Program trainer and a certified Partners Against Hate trainer. As such, she assists schools in the prevention of and effective response to bullying and bias-related tension incidents.
Mr. McConkie is a civil rights lawyer and social justice advocate with a specialized focus on equal rights, equal protection, and equal justice under law. He is the founder and director of the Robert M. Bell Center for Civil Rights in Education established at Morgan State University to unite research, teaching, training and advocacy to identify and address integral civil rights issues in education and the elimination of any continuing policy or practice in our schools, colleges and universities that foster discrimination on the basis of race or perpetuate the inequitable conditions of segregation. He has pursued his work and advocacy in the public interest and non-profit sectors of law and education where he has served as an attorney with the National Legal Department of the NAACP and continues to work closely with the NAACP as a cooperating attorney and Life Member. Mr. McConkie served for several years with the National Litigation Project of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, primarily on school desegregation and equal educational opportunity cases and related policy initiatives. He is a former Assistant Attorney General of Maryland.
Thomas E. Parker started with the Allentown School District in 2017. Since joining the District, Mr. Parker has focused on preparing students to be college and career ready with an emphasis on Middle School Transformation, a critical component to student success. Under Mr. Parker’s leadership, ASD received the First Place Magna Award for Equity Programs for the work at Newcomer Academy, a PAsmart grant for technology and introduced a dual degree program in partnership with LCCC. Before joining the Allentown School District, Mr. Parker served as the Superintendent of Ecorse Public Schools in Ecorse, MI where he implemented several districtwide initiatives that focused on improving student achievement with special emphasis on closing the achievement gaps among underachieving groups.
Susan has been a nationally recognized expert for more than four decades. Her transformational work in public schools has centered on the development of comprehensive technical assistance for system wide change, training on educational equity and culturally responsive pedagogy and practice, school climate and culture, family, school, and community engagement, and multicultural gender-related issues. Currently, Ms. Shaffer is representing MAEC as a partner with the Chief State School Officers to create a State Consortium on Family Engagement, developing a CoP among seven state teams to develop a Birth to Grade 12 Family Engagement Framework.
Gwen Snow is the principal of the Newcomer Academy, a school to support adolescent students who are new to the US and to English as they prepare to transition to comprehensive schools throughout Jefferson County Public Schools in Kentucky. She has also taught several teacher preparation courses to address English Learner education for K-12 at local universities.
Ludy Soderman has been an educator for 30 years, as a teacher and administrator in independent and public schools. As the director of Multilingual Family Support for the School District of Philadelphia, she manages 106 individuals that provide school-based and District- wide interpretation and translation services, as well as facilitate workshops for families and staff. She facilitates training on language access, cultural competence, and multiculturalism.
Julie Sugarman is a senior policy analyst at the Migration Policy Institute’s National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy, where she focuses on issues related to immigrant and English learner students in elementary and secondary schools. Previously, Dr. Sugarman was a senior research associate at the Center for Applied Linguistics, and she earned her Ph.D. in second language education and culture from the University of Maryland, College Park.
Lydia Walther-Rodriguez migrated to the United States from Panama and has been residing in Baltimore City for the past 12 years. She began advocating for immigrant rights with CASA Baltimore as a student activist at Morgan State University fighting for the Maryland Dream Act in 2010. She joined CASA as an AmeriCorps volunteer to promote and facilitate citizenship services and was then hired as a community organizer. She has advanced CASA's Police Reform coalition, expanded its youth college access program, and led the Baltimore region's community organizing team.
After serving for two years as a long-term substitute teacher for several school districts in the Lehigh Valley area, Mr. Wesley joined the Office for Civil Rights (OCR). He is a senior level Equal Opportunity Specialist in OCR’s Philadelphia office. He has investigated complaints and compliance reviews concerning a variety of educational equity issues – including the provision of services to English Learners – and is a member of the steering committee for OCR’s Title VI Discipline Network.